A snappy dresser with equally snappy jokes, Greg Proops is well known for his nasal voice and improv skills in Whose Line is it Anyway?. Don’t be mislead though, his stand-up is solid as well, and he proved that on stage to a Melbourne audience during his Australian tour.

Proops’ jokes hit a bizarre range of targets, with dick jokes (humping the microphone stand singing Beatles numbers) and political commentary (Bill Clinton material still making an appearance) told alongside Shakespeare references (which is what is spoken in Perth).

It’s hard to call it high-brow humour as there’s a fair amount of swearing and jokes taking place below the equator. In amongst this is social commentary, criticisms on Western culture and war activity in the Middle East, and jokes about politics. More jokes focused on a certain one-legged prostitute whose name people can no longer recall.

Proops is reasonably accessible, but his material is in some ways largely focused at an American audience – and he can’t be faulted for that. His jokes are funny, but dated – they made fun of Clinton and Bush era politics rather than anything recent. Either he thinks things move a lot slower in Australia, or he can’t impersonate Barack Obama with any kind of accuracy. See the YouTube clip below for a taste of some of the same material, five years earlier.

To compensate for this he had great interaction with the audience, literally pausing to take notes when a joke worked or bombed, and openly mocking Melbourne and Australians if he thought their laughs weren’t adequate. An audience will just thrive on that sort of attention.

Since he seemed so eager to write the reviews himself, it’s best to end this one with his words:

“He told the koala joke last time he was in the country in 1997. We’re not all latte drinkers that wear black in Melbourne. Where’s the tall guy, the bald guy and the black guy? Don’t tell us we’re just stuck with him?!’

Greg Proops is on at the Athenaeum Theatre, 7pm, until April 24th.


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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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